2015 Fantasy Football Recap: Breakouts and Busts that Made or Broke Your Team

RB Davonta Freeman looks to find the endzone against the Houston Texans. Freeman dominated in all facets of the game in 2015. Next year he could be a top 10 pick in your fantasy draft.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

RB Davonta Freeman looks to find the endzone against the Houston Texans. Freeman dominated in all facets of the game in 2015. Next year he could be a top 10 pick in your fantasy draft.

Xavier Clark and Jacob Thomas, Staff Writers

What a year it was for Fantasy Football fans. There were injuries that held back pro-bowl talents, and injuries that marked the future for many franchises that needed to make the next leap.

Busts

  1. Eddie Lacy RB—Lacy was taken in the top three of many drafts and left his owners with a sour taste in their mouths. In a fourth of Lacy’s games he had five carries or less. The limited workload made him unstartable. The overweight Lacy lacked explosive plays and at times looked like a lineman running the ball. Sophomore Will Caserial was not very happy about Lacy’s performance: “Lacy was a bigger bust than Jamarcus Russell. Fat, slow, bust!”   
  2. Andrew Luck QB—Luck was expected to be a top quarterback going into the season, and that just didn’t happen. Through the first two weeks of play Luck committed a total of six turnovers. Talk about awful decision making from the Colts’ play caller. He  went from throwing 40 touchdowns last year to 15 this year.
  3. Dez Bryant WR—There wasn’t much throwing up the X in Dallas this season as Bryant only caught three touchdown passes all year. Many thought that Bryant could match or come close to his 16 touchdowns he had in his 2014 campaign, but he failed miserably. The down season wasn’t all Bryant’s fault. He was plagued by a foot injury throughout the season and had Matt Cassel throwing him the ball a majority of the year.    
  4. Demarco Murray RB—The league’s leading rusher last season turned into the league leading contrast. He was a let down in all aspects of the rushing game, and Chip Kelly’s spread offense didn’t fit Murray’s downhill running style. Murray only reached 100 yards rushing once and had nine games under 10 fantasy points. This year was the year he couldn’t get the job done. “I was excited when I traded for him early in the season and I expected him to put the team on his back but he sucked,” said sophomore Sam Walker.   
  5. Randall Cobb WR—After Jordy Nelson went down in the preseason, Cobb’s value skyrocketed. He was going to be Aaron Rodgers’ number one target, and many of us were expecting the young wideout to have a breakout season. Just the opposite happened: Cobb finished the regular season with only one 100-plus yard game. With no reliable threat on the outside, defenses attracted lots of attention to Cobb in the slot, making it hard for him to get open.    
  6. Jimmy Graham TE—Graham has had a historically great career but this year did not continue that trend. Graham suffered a knee injury Week 12 and was sidelined for five games. The 12 games Graham participated in were lacking production. The move to Seattle proved to be a major impact on his fantasy stats: “I traded for Graham as well early in the season with high hopes but, he let me down literally every week,” said Walker.

Suprises

  1. Devonta Freeman RB—Everytime the 5’8” running back touched the ball, explosive plays were bound to happen. Freeman found the end zone 14 times this season and rushed for over 1,000 yards. His value increased tremendously in PPR formats, as Freeman hauled in 73 receptions this year.     
  2. Carson Palmer QB—Palmer was a delight to have on my own fantasy team. His consistency was off the charts this year. Palmer has really lacked efficiency in the past few years but he has rebounded well. The start of the 2016 season is what really fueled his success. The first three games totaled 31, 30 and 23 fantasy points. He then continued to produce like this through the remainder of the season. Many talented fantasy quarterbacks can produce highly a sample of games; however, Palmer proved that he can produce reliably all season long.
  3. Tyler Eifert TE—With 13 touchdowns this season, “Mini Gronk” actually found the end zone more than Gronk himself in 2015. Not only did Eifert lead all tight ends in touchdowns this year, but he did it without playing three games. Many of Eifert’s owners grabbed him off of waivers after he torched Oakland in Week 1 for 104 yards and two touchdowns. However, Eifert wasn’t just a one-week wonder. He consistently put up big numbers throughout the season.     
  4. Cam Newton QB—Saying Newton went off this year would be an understatement. Newton had a whopping average of 26 fantasy points per game. Newton put together the fifth best fantasy season of all time for a quarterback.
  5. Doug Baldwin WR—Baldwin proved all the doubters wrong that there was nothing mediocre about him this season. After the Week 9 bye he was unstoppable, and if you owned him he put up WR1 numbers. He exerted the best five-game span by a wide receiver this season with 11 touchdowns. Baldwin and Russell Wilson seemed to find their chemistry in the second half of the year.      
  6. Todd Gurley RB—Gurley put together a great rookie season that stamped his mark in this league. Gurley came out of the draft with fairly low expectations until he really solidified his role Week 4 at Arizona. He has the breakaway speed and red zone awareness to be an every down back for the Rams.